Akira Matsuda
Japan
  • PositionCounsel
  • FirmIwata Godo
  • Age35
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Akira Matsuda

Akira Matsuda

Japan
  • Position: Counsel
  • Firm: Iwata Godo
  • Age: 35

Professional history

I qualified as a Japanese attorney at law in 2008 before joining a large Tokyo firm. I have been working as a corporate lawyer since then.

What do you do?

Data protection and privacy laws in Japan and EU (GDPR) have been very substantially overhauled. My main activities in relation to data protection have been to advise Japanese and foreign multinationals on global compliance to meet the organisational and documentary challenges arising from these overarching reforms.

Career highlights?

Since 2015, I have been double hatting between Japan and Singapore – which has allowed me to get a deep understanding of the data protection legal framework in ASEAN, including as to how cross-border data transfers can be lawfully effected to and from Japan.

Influences and mentors?

Yoshihiro Toji of Iwata Godo (Tokyo) and Lim Chong Kin of Drew & Napier (Singapore). My role model is Landry Guesdon.

Advice for young lawyers

Comprehensive knowledge of the data laws and regulations, including future trends, is a must, both locally and globally. In addition, understanding data flows and how corporates use, process, transfer and store data is very important. A good knowledge of criminal laws (ie, wiretapping) also helps.

If you hadn’t been a lawyer?

I would have been an airline pilot – I love travelling around the world.

What’s everyone talking about?

In Japan, how Japanese MNEs can comply in a timely way with the GDPR . . . and the FIFA World Cup in Russia, with tears still in the eyes for the Japan team fans.

What will data lawyers be advising on in 10 years?

As machine learning and big data are keys to AI, I expect data protection will still be a hot topic in connection with AI!

What do you do to relax?

I love taking short trips on weekends, and of course longer trips when I am able to take leave! The pursuit of work-life balance and privacy are legitimate purposes in a tough Japanese working environment.